Monthly Archives: November 2011

Online Registration Now Open For Corvallis MLK

The Corvallis MLK tournament is an OSCF qualifier that features approximately eight separate playing sections, spanning the range from young novices to the strongest scholastic open section on the calendar. With a large number of relatively small sections, the sections are well-balanced by age and rating, so everyone has a realistic chance of winning. Substantial cash awards in the Power Section (rating > 1500). All other sections, trophies to the top four finishers as well as awards for “Best Notation,” “Best Handshake,” “Sportsmanship,” and participation.

Power Section Five rounds G/45. Cash awards. $150-90-60 for 1st-3rd. $50 for top U1700. Awards based on turnout of 25 in the section. If fewer than 25 participate in the section, prize fund will be reduced proportionally. Adults welcome. USCF/NWSRS dual-rated.

Other Sections Five rounds. Time controls vary with skill level (G/25, G/30, or G/40). Trophies to the top four finishers in each section. G/5 blitz tie-breaks. Trophies for Best Notation and Best Handshake in each section. Participation awards to all, and Sportsmanship awards to a select few. K-12 players only. All sections NWSRS rated. Might Rook sections (ratings 1000-1499) are USCF/NWSRS dual-rated.

Entry Fee: $15. Register online.

Power Chess In Albany

The Corvallis/Albany Open, Dec 10-11 is modeled on the seasonal opens at the Portland Chess club but with double the prize fund ($1350). Awards in the Open section: $300-200-100 for 1st-3rd, $75 for top U2000 player. Awards in the Reserve section (U1800): $300-150-75 for 1st-3rd, $75 for top U1600 and $75 for top U1400. Tournament site is just off the freeway in Albany, 40 minutes from Eugene and about an hour from Portland. Entry fee: $40. USCF membership required. The Corvallis/Albany Open is an OSCF qualifier. Participation is limited to the first 50 registered; spaces are filling fast. Contact Dan Dalthorp at to register. Send your name, USCF ID number, and indicate which section you’d like to play in. For more info, click here.

Oregon At K-12 Nationals In Dallas

All-Star Jake Winkler

Jake Winkler and Praveer Sharan represented Oregon at the K-12 Nationals in Dallas, Texas, November 18-20. Both turned in great performances. Praveer tied for 9th place in a very strong 2nd grade section with 117 players in all. Jake was rated only 976 going into the event, but his first three opponents were rated 1600, 1547, and 1641. According to C3PO, the odds of him scoring 2.5/3 in the three games were quite a bit worse than the odds of successfully navigating an asteroid field. Jake’s attitude was, “Never tell me the odds,” as he went on to defeat his first two opponents and draw against the third. He came back to earth in the last four rounds, scoring only one more upset but finishing with an impressive 3.5/7 in the 5th grade section.

Coquille On The Road

At first glance, 0.5% doesn’t seem like a huge number, but if hometown Los Angeles had the same fraction of its population going to the National Youth Action tournament as Coquille has, there’d be over 75,000 players. If every village, town, and city within 900 miles of LA were like Coquille and were sending 0.5% of its population to NYA 2011, there’d be over a quarter of a million players there! But no where else has an organizer like Nancy Keller and no team has more fun Coquille. Have a great time on your 15 hour bus trip, camp outs, and two solid days of chess!

Southern Oregon Chess League Update

by Nancy Keller

Aaron Grabinsky--Recent wins against three players rated over 1750 has him moving quickly up the ratings lists.

The Southern Oregon Chess League kicked off this year’s chess season at Myrtle Creek and Coquille’s Junior Varsity team dominated.

Because of lack of full teams but everyone wanting to play chess, all players including coaches and tag-alongs were put into a swiss sys competition. Team member wins were added to make the team score. This way the undermanned Marshfield and Myrtle Point teams could have a chance to play and the extra Varsity players from Coquille could also try out their skill. Three high ranking adults/coaches were included as Coquille wanted some tough competition to hone their skills.

Aaron Grabinsky took on Coach Randy Smolensky in the final round. Coach Smolensky for South Umpqua is highly rated at 1877. Aaron at 1631 was considered the underdog but won after identifying the tricky moves that Randy set up and responding by not taking bait. The Coquille Junior Varsity team placed first with final results: Aaron Grabinsky 5 wins, Josiah Perkins 4 wins, Hailey Riley 3 wins, Kaden Johnson 3 wins and Mason Collard 2 wins for a total of 17 points.

Coquille High School Varsity Team placed second with final results: Jessi Ross 3 wins, Sarai Perkins 3 wins, Isaiah Hill 3 wins, Kaitlyn Davidson 2.5 wins and Donavan Taylor-Blower 2 wins for a total of 13.5 points.

South Umpqua High School Varsity Team placed third with final results: Gordon Woodruff 3 wins, Aaron Opp 2.5 wins, Lynzee Maunu 2 wins, Nick Rabern 1 win and Katelyn Anderson 1 win for a total of 9.5 points.

Myrtle Point Junior Varsity Team had only two members with Chace Kulm 2 wins and Ed Sherman 1 win.

Marshfield Varsity Team had Jeremy Dixson 2 wins.

Coquille’s Elementary team of Jordan Henderson (5th grade), Mackenzie Collard (1st grade), Angelina Morones (2nd grade) and TJ Spanberger (3rd grade) managed to win a few games as they played against the junior high and high school players. They accumulated 5 points.

Randy Smolensky (1815) vs Aaron Grabinsky (1673)
(Annotated by Aaron)
1. e4 e6 My pet opening–the French Defense.}
2. d4 d5
3. Be3 dxe4
…a peculiar gambit, probably used for surprise more than anything else.
4. f3 Nf6 I knew that I wasn’t supposed to take, as it would speed up White’s development.
5. c4 b6…planning to reinforce my e-pawn with Bb7.
6. Nc3 Bb7
7. Be2 Be7
8. Nh3
Obviously, white must develop his knight.
8. … Nbd7 Nbd7 was preparing C5 on the next move.
9. O-O c5 I figured that I must strike back at white’s strong center.
10. d5

White just played d5 to earn a passed pawn, but Black correctly perceived that the pawn wasn't going anywhere and would be difficult to protect.

With d5, White gives himself a passed pawn, but it is isolated and solidly blockaded by my knight on d7.
10. … exd5
11. cxd5 exf3
12. Bxf3 Ne5
13. Qa4+ Qd7
14. Qxd7+
With Qxd7, white makes his job of defending his d5 pawn considerably harder.
14. … Nfxd7 15. Be2 O-O 16. Rad1 a6 …keeping White’s pieces off b5.
17. Ne4 A good move by white preparing either Ng3-Nf5 and also keeping an eye on d6.
17. … h6
18. Ng3 Rfe8
19. Nf5 Bf8
I like Bf8 as it makes it harder for white to advance to d6 with his pawn.
20. Bc1 Rad8
21. Bf4 Nf6
Preparing more and more pressure on White’s d-pawn.
22. Bxe5 Bxe5 was probably white’s best choice as the knight on e5 was considerably strong.
22. … Rxe5
23. Rd2 Rexd5
24. Rxd5 Bxd5
25. Nxh6+
A nice move by white which wins a pawn by force. Kh7, Ng4 is no better.
25. … gxh6
26. Rxf6 c4
I like this move as it opens the c5 square for my bishop and indirectly protects my pawn on b6 as rxb6??, c5+ wins the rook.
27. Kf1 Rd6 I think that trading rooks is good for black as I have a strong bishop pair.
28. Rxd6 Bxd6
29. g3 b5
…getting my queenside majority rolling!
30. Nf2 He wisely repositions his knight.
30. … b4
31. Ng4 c3
The tempting fork Nf6+ and Nxd5 will be refuted by c2, where my pawn is unstoppable.
32. bxc3 bxc3 Randy wisely rejects the fork.

White just played Bd3. The response Bc4 would have been winning instantly.

33. Bd3 Be6
34. Ne3 Kg7
35. Ke2 Kf6
36. Bxa6 Bxa2
37. Bd3 Be6
38. Kd1 Ke5
39. Kc2 Kd4
40. Nd1 Bb4
41. Nf2 Ke3
42. Nd1+ Kf3

Black just played Kf3, and both White's kingside pawns will fall. It's all over but the formalities now.

It is now time to get the kingside pawns.
43. Nxc3 Bxc3 44. Kxc3 Kg2
45. Be4+ Kxh2 46. Kd4 Kxg3 47. Ke5 h5 48. Kf6 h4 49. Ke7 h3 50. Kf6 h2 51. Kg5 f5
52. Ba8 f4
53. Bh1 Bh3
54. Kh5 Bg2

Eugene Fall Classic

Jerry Ramey, iconic Eugene chess organizer

The name and format of the event has varied through the years, but on November 18 Jerry Ramey hosted his fall scholastic tournament for the 17th year in a row–a Fall Classic indeed. This year the 68 players were grouped into five separate playing sections.

Sectioning:The Elite Eight Solution.
A vexing issue in scholastic tournaments is that there are oftentimes a handful of players who are much stronger than the rest of the field. If the top section is large (< 20) or even moderately sized (12-16), the strong players destroy their early round opponents and don't meet each other until very late. They don't get a good challenge, and the less experienced players don't have much chance to win. Setting a high ratings cutoff for the top section is risky because but it is impossible to know how many higher-rated players will show up. Jerry has been experimenting with alternative solutions for a number of years. One idea is the "Fabulous Four"--pull out the top four players their own section to play a quad. But, alas, scholastic players are not fond of quads in an all-day tournament. That especially holds true in a smaller chess market like Eugene, where the top players would likely be friends from the same school or club and would prefer to play someone new in the tournaments. Another possibility is a "Super Six" section, comprised of the top six players in a round robin. Stronger players prefer longer time-controls than can be used for a five-round, one-day scholastic event. In addition, the round-robin format is not as popular among kids as Swiss pairings. In my experiments with a Super Six section, the day before a tournament, I would get a number of cancellations among the stronger players and some no-shows on tournament day. Jerry has settled into an Elite Eight section with the top seven players along with the winner of the advanced section in his previous tournament. He then runs a four-round Swiss at G/60. It seems to work fairly well at both attracting strong players and having competitive Elite and Advanced sections. Elite Eight Results
The Elite Eight section at Jerry’s tournaments tend to be among the strongest scholastic tournaments in the state. This year’s group included three of the top six scholastic players in the state–a Corvallis trio of David Wen, Max Sun, and Matt Dalthorp, all rated right around 1800–as well as strong local players Jack Dale (1528), Jimmy Kelly (1535), Derek Wang (1411), and Jeremy Guenza-Marcus (1240), winner of the advanced section in the Eugene Spring Fling. The field was complete with James Chen (1331) from Salem. Matt ended up winning the section with a score of 3.5/4 with good endgame play against Jimmy and Jack and with flashy attacks against James and Max. For his efforts, he brought home a beautiful trophy cup and a $100 check. Max ended up in clear second with 3/4 and $50, while Jimmy was third with 2.5/4 and $30. No ties!

Advanced Section Results
Cottage Grove Sophomore Henry Lancaster is a new-comer to the Advanced level and was the lowest-rated player in the section, but came up with a fantastic tournament performance, scoring 4.5/5 for sole first place. Tommy Case, a fifth grader at Ellis Parker Elementary in Eugene, finished in clear second at 4/5, while Kevin Zong (Roosevelt Middle School, Eugene) and Torrey Gage-Tomlinson (Pleasant Hill Elementary) tied for third and fourth.

Intermediate Section Results
While the Elite Eight results were a TD’s dream–no ties–the intermediate section was a nightmare. A three-way tie for 1st-3rd and a six-way tie for 4th-9th. Ai-yo! Jerry must be glad he went with computer tie-breaks this year instead of his customary blitz. I’ll let you look up the LONG list of names when the results are rated and posted at USCF and NWSRS.

Novice Section I Results
Hoover Elementary in Corvallis has a new chess club, and they made their presence known loud and clear at the Fall Classic. Last week Apollo Heo and Sewook Park played in their first tournament in Corvallis. This week, they tied for first with Eli Ablow-Measelle in the Novice I section at 4/5. Following close on their heels at 3.5/5 were Leo Reeves, playing his first tournament, and Victor Dossin.

Novice Section II Results
First place in the Novice II section was a brand new tournament player Wiley Peebles, who debuted with a perfect 5/5. Congratulations, Wiley! In clear second at 4/5 was Dakota Rockl of Delphian School in Sheridan. Another tournament first-timer, Yuh Hung, took third with 3.5/5.

Coquille: Byron Massey Memorial

Byron Massey (1967-2010) Coos Bay teacher, writer, musician, composer, chess player

The 2nd annual Byron Massey Memorial chess tournament was held Nov 5, 2011 in Coquille in loving memory of Byron Massey, who passed away in October 2010 after struggling with Type I diabetes his whole life.

Thirty-nine players were divided into three sections by age and rating. The Elite section was won by adult Randy Smolensky (1888), whose only blemish was a fourth round draw against the rapidly improving high school player, Collin Goldman (1570). Jessica Ross (1301) defeated Collin in the last round to win clear second.
The Upper section was swept by Isaiah Hill with a perfect 5/5 score, while fourth grader Jared Kruse scored 4.5/5 in the Elementary section to take first place in his very first chess tournament.

Portland League, Round 3

by Ed Addis
The Portland Area League played the 3rd round of their Swiss tournament on Wednesday, November 16th. Pairings had been made before hand — but, as fate would have it, Sherwood HS was shut down due to a sewage backup and all of their activities were cancelled. So at the last moment pairings had to be changed.

Top seeded Clackamas survived by a score of 3-2 over the very tough Jesuit squad. Cleveland dropped the top board against West Sylvan, but captured the rest of them. Lake Oswego slipped by LaSalle by a score of 3-2. Wilson topped Access Academy by 4-1, and Westview destroyed Sylvan #2 by a score of 5 to 0. LaSalle #2 split two games with Wilsonville, but won by a score of 4-1 when they received forfeits on the other boards. Lincoln beat Clackamas #2 by a score of 4-1. Access Academy #3 squeaked by Scio by a score of 3-2 and Cleveland #2 did the same thing to LaSalle #3. Access Academy won easily from Jesuit #2 by a score of 5 to 0, and Lake Oswego did the same thing to Wilson #2.

After three rounds Clackamas, Cleveland, and Lake Oswego stand on top with three match wins.

Individuals with 3 wins includes:
Access Academy: Kian Patel
Clackamas: Kevin Rhine, Kevin Phuong, and Tommy Lum
Cleveland: Peter Kleier
Jesuit: Bruce Eng, Varun Sah
Lake Oswego: Joel Porter
LaSalle: Charlie Summers
Sylvan: Clemen Deng
Wilson: Dillon Murray, Nathan Jewell, and Alexander Duley
Westview: Cheng Chen


After a brief technical snafu, NWSRS is back. If you played in an event last weekend, you can see your updated ratings by visiting the NWSRS website. Click on the “Tournament Results” link on the left sidebar at